[[quoteright:250:[[TabletopGame/{{Monopoly}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/monopoly_man_bankrupt1_7598.gif]]]]
''[[caption-width-right:250:Once I owned Reading Railroad,\\
Now it's done\\
Brother, can you spare a dime?]]''

->''"Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people\\
They're all drinkin', thinkin' that they got it made\\
Exchanging all precious gifts\\
But you'd better take your diamond ring, you'd better pawn it babe\\
You used to be so amused\\
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used\\
Go to him now, he calls you, you can't refuse\\
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose\\
You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal"''\\
--'''Music/BobDylan''', "Like a Rolling Stone"

We're all familiar with the story of the young man or woman with absolutely nothing who [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanDream worked hard to make enough money]] to open that business, and now [[RagsToRiches have it all]]. The overall tale behind Bill Gates' rise to multi-billionaire is one of these; he started building computers in his garage, and now has one of the largest computer empires in the world.

This trope is the exact opposite of that; it's the story of someone who used to have everything, and now finds themselves with nothing.

If the character is from the bluest in hue of bloods, they may be an ImpoverishedPatrician. If the character continues on as they did when they were rich, they may be a PrincessInRags. If the character stops being an AlphaBitch and is revealed to be insecure or to have other sympathetic traits that make the audience like her, this might be a FallenPrincess. It might be a result of AFoolAndHisNewMoneyAreSoonParted, if the character is (well, was) NouveauRiche. TheGreatDepression took this to its LogicalExtreme.

[[AC: Advertising]]

* An [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTElVMAsyDI old Discover Card commercial]] depicts a fictional HairMetal band called Danger Kitty (played by SteelPanther) achieving fame and fortune in the year 1983, only to be completely broke a year later because they couldn't control their spending. The end of the commercial shows one of the band members working in a hot dog stand, and reveals that their comeback attempt involved them playing a bar mitzva.
* A series of Dutch commercials for the mobile telecommunication company Telfort star a former millionaire who lost his entire fortune and has been forced to move from his villa to a small appartment, but at least, thanks to Telfort, he can still afford the same quality of internet and telephone services he used to have.

[[AC: Anime and Manga]]
* This had just happened to the ''LightNovel/TheTwelveKingdoms''' Komatsu Saburou Naotaka in the middle of a cruel local war in medieval Japan. His land had lost soundly, his retainers and supporters had all been slain in front of him, and Naotaka himself was badly wounded and all alone. Then he met an odd kid named Enki, who turned out to be a ''kirin'' aka a mythological beast who chooses and advises the rulers of another world, and he had just seen that Naotaka is the only one [[RagsToRiches who can become the leader of the Kingdom of En]].
* In ''Manga/CandyCandy'', this is [[spoiler: Louisa]]'s [[LaserGuidedKarma "punishment"]] in the BoardingSchool arc.

[[AC: ComicBooks]]
* Several ''[[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Scrooge McDuck]]'' WhatIf stories have used this trope.
* Forsythe from ''ComicBook/ArchieComics2015'' was the son of the richest family in Riverdale. His father was scammed into losing all their money involving a water bottling company. After that Forsythe went from being one of the coolest kids in town to a laughingstock, and was given the nickname "Jughead" after the company his dad was scammed by.

[[AC: [[AnimatedFilms Film (Animated)]]]]
* Emperor Kuzco in ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'', by virtue of a BalefulPolymorph which leaves his subjects unable of recognizing him.
* The Prince in the fairy Tale of ''the Prince and the Pauper''.

[[AC: {{Film}} (Live Action)]]
* ''Film/TradingPlaces'' does this twice:
** First to Louis Whinthorpe (Creator/DanAykroyd) as a result of a bet between Randolf and his brother, Mortimer, who wagered he could put Louis in the poor house, reducing him from an upstanding, respectable businessman, to a dreg of society. While, at the same time, take Valentine (EddieMurphy) off the streets and make him a reputable businessman, in a month's time. The real kicker: the bet was for one dollar, [[ItAmusedMe made on a whim, for no other reason than to satisfy their own curiosity.]]
** The second time happens when [[spoiler: Valentine and Louis inevitability find out about the wager after Valentine overhears the Dukes discussing it in the men's room [[LaserGuidedKarma and decide to get even by returning the favor. For one dollar.]]]]
* The movie ''Maid To Order'' explores this with a spoiled rich girl stripped of her wealth and identity by a FairyGodmother, forced to work as a maid in a rich household and learn the value of something.
* Creator/SteveMartin's ''Film/TheJerk'' goes the full circle from RagsToRiches back to rags. Martin's character invents a grip handle for glasses that becomes all the rage, amassing him a fortune. A fortune he loses when his company is sued after it's discovered the handle causes people to go permanently cross-eyed.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''. Wayne Enterprises is no longer profitable after Bruce canned a high-risk project [[spoiler:and Bruce himself goes bankrupt when the villains gamble away all of his assets on the stock market. Due to the chaos of Gotham's isolation and Bruce's apparent death, the lost money is never recovered]].
* What happened to Thorin from ''Film/TheHobbit''. He was once a prince of a very wealthy and powerful dwarven kingdom but after Smaug invaded Erebor, he and his people were driven out and he was forced to work menial, dead-end jobs to survive.
* Brazilian BasedOnAnAdviceBook movie ''Até que a Sorte nos Separe'' ("Til Luck Do Us Part") has a guy who won the lottery 15 years prior finding out his fortune is basically gone after years of ConspicuousConsumption. To make it worse, he has to hide it from his wife with a pechant for spending... and who finds out that is pregnant.
* ''Film/BlueJasmine'': Flashbacks show the protagonist living a life of luxury--Upper East Side penthouse/brownstone, lavish summers in the Hamptons, black tie charity events, etc. Her life now? Sleeping on the couch in her sister's apartment, which is above a grocery store and working as a receptionist in a dentist's office, all because her financier husband turned out to be a fraud.

[[AC: Mythology And Religion]]
* The Dutch folk tale about the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_of_Stavoren Lady of Stavoren]] is all about this trope.

[[AC: {{Literature}}]]
* ''Sister Carrie'': Over the course of the novel, the rich and socially elite George W. Hurstwood gradually loses his status, his money, falls into gambling, and finally [[spoiler:becomes homeless and commits suicide]].
* In ''L'Assomoir'', Gervaise, after enriching with her laundry, become poor because of excessive expenses.

[[AC: LiveActionTV]]
* While she never goes ''completely'' broke, Jackie is forced to give up her spoiled princess lifestyle in ''Series/That70sShow'' when her father is imprisoned for embezzlement and his accounts are frozen. With her mother travelling the world, Jackie ends up living with Donna.
* ''Franchise/BuffyVerse'':
** Cordelia when her father is busted for tax evasion.
** Angelus never had trouble maintaining a nice pad, expensive clothes, or box theater seats. ("I just ate the people who had 'em.") Once cursed and jilted by Darla, he spent years as a homeless bum living on rats.
* Caroline on ''Series/TwoBrokeGirls'' is the daughter of a Bernie Maddoff Expy. She used to live in a mansion, have fancy clothes and owned a horse. At the start of the series she has no money and is homeless. But she still has a horse.
* There's an unusual version of this on ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' with [[spoiler: Sybil]], who is forced to give up her privileged life as a noble's daughter when she marries [[spoiler: Branson, the former chauffeur]]. However, she actually welcomes the change, as she is a [[RebelliousPrincess Rebellious Lady]] who disliked the lifestyle of fashion, gossip, paying calls and being waited on hand-and-foot. She also [[spoiler: had previous experience working as a nurse during the war and learning how to cook from the servants. And it helps that Branson gets a job as a journalist, she happily returns to being a nurse and her father gives her a little money, meaning its not so much riches to 'rags' as Not-Rich-But-Just-Comfortable-Enough-To-Get-By.]] But her happiness about taking up a normal life definitely gives an interesting twist to this trope.
-->[[spoiler:'''Mary''': But you don't regret it?]]\\
[[spoiler: '''Sybil''': No, never.]]
* This is what happened to Pete Campbell's family on ''Series/MadMen'', The Campbells were {{Blue Blood}}s who used to own half of Upper Manhattan, until Pete's father [[ImpoverishedPatrician squandered their fortune]]. Which is why Pete has to work at Sterling Cooper, and marry Trudy, whose family is NouveauRiche, but much wealthier.
* London in an episode of ''Series/TheSuiteLifeOfZackAndCody'' when her father makes a bad investment. As typical of show, she gains it back at the end of the episode.
* In ''Series/{{Bones}}'', Hodgins is hacked by Pelant and is forced to choose between saving his family fortune or saving a school for girls in the middle east from a UAV strike. Naturally he chooses to save the school.
* The Bluths of ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' go this way in the series' first episode. Mitch Hurwitz even pitched the show as "a riches-to-rags family".

[[AC: Music]]
* The page quotation is the song "Like a Rolling Stone" by Music/BobDylan.
* The Music/TheRollingStones song "Playing with Fire:"
-->''Your old man took her diamonds / And tiaras, by the score / Now she gets her kicks in Stepney / Not in Knightsbridge anymore''
* This is a common plot in opera, where the fall usually comes about as a [[SlutShaming punishment for women sleeping around]]. Examples include ''Theatre/LaTraviata'' and ''Manon'' (in the latter, the woman starts out as a commoner and becomes a rich mistress of a noble, but then falls toward poverty again when she cheats on said noble with her true love).
* Music/VanHalen in "As Is":
-->Yesterday I was a bum and broke.\\
Today I am a star and broke.\\
In this town that's called progress,\\
That's how we do biz.

[[AC: VideoGames]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' has this in [[PlayerCharacter Hawke]]'s backstory: the Amell family, of whom Hawke's mother, Leandra, is a member of, was wealthy and influential in the city-state of Kirkwall before Hawke's uncle Gamlen gambled away the money when he became patriarch, since Leandra left for Ferelden. Upon returning to Kirkwall, Leandra and her children were impoverished refugees who had to rely on the begrudging goodwill of Gamlen and money Hawke made in the city's WretchedHive to survive before a Deep Roads expedition made Hawke enough money to [[RagsToRiches move on up in Kirkwall society]].
** The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]] does this with the Human Noble origin (in which the death of their family and their conscription into the Grey Wardens causes them to be much poorer), the Dwarven noble origin (in which they are disowned due to circumstances beyond their control), and the Human Mage origin (the human mage being a part of the aforementioned Amell family, who cannot ever inherit their titles due to being a mage) -- depending on how you play the game, however, they can all earn back their wealth and status and then some.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'', there's a rich man and a poor man, both of whose daughters (named Mila and Maggie respectively) have been kidnapped by the BigBad. You rescue the daughters about halfway through the game, and the rich man gives his fortune to the pirates who took the credit for their rescue, while the poor man makes his fortune selling rare necklaces his daughter brings home.
* This can occur in ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonAWonderfulLife Special Edition'' and ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonDS'' if you marry Lumina. She goes from being living in a mansion with her rich grandmother to living down the road as a farmer's wife.

* ''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'': When [[OldMoney Ayla Goodkind]] was first disowned by his family for being a mutant, he was forced to live with his equally blackballed sister Gracie (who had been his brother Greg before coming out as a {{Transsexual}}); the shock of middle class realities were crushing to him, and left a mark on him even after they managed to wrest a portion of his due inheritance from the family (a mere $300 million, which at first seemed a mere pittance to him compared to the billions he was raised to expect). Ayla's brief brush with poverty is best summed up in his own words:
-->I spent my whole life being groomed to be… Well, something I can never do now. I had a couple weeks of living in someone’s basement and eating Hamburger Helper, and it just about killed me.
* The ''Podcast/ThrillingAdventureHour'' segment, "Down in Moonshine Holler", after falling in love with a hobo woman, features, millionaire Jasper Manorlodge renounces his riches and becomes hobo Banjo Bindlestuff to try and find his Hobo Princess.

[[AC: WesternAnimation]]
* Zander Crews in the opening episodes of the second season of ''WesternAnimation/FriskyDingo'' -- he's gone from the head of a company with billions of dollars to living in a refrigerator box. [[spoiler:At least until he remembers to regain the check from Killface.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': when Homer visits his [[LongLostRelative Long Lost Brother]] Herb, who is the head of a Detroit car company, Homer ruins Herb by designing a terrible car. A later episode has him regain his fortune (with the help of an investment from Homer).
** In another episode, when Homer and Marge decided to seek tutors in case [[ParentalAbandonment they don't live long enough to see all their children reach adulthood]], it was revealed Herb went broke again.
** [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Mr. Burns]] in "The Old Man and the Lisa".
--->'''Kent Brockman''': Excuse me, Mr. Burns, now that you're completely ruined, how do you feel?\\
'''Burns''': Excellent. I'm on my way back to the top! I've turned these cans into can-dos!\\
'''Brockman''': Well, you smell terrible -- Good luck to you, sir.
** Brenda, of the [[LifetimeMovieOfTheWeek Lifetime TV movie]] "From Homemaker to Homeless". She later went to Harvard Medical School -- as a cadaver.
* ''ComicStrip/TheBoondocks'' episode "Bitches to Rags" is all about Thugnificent going through this after several unwise moves on his part sink his singing career. Which in turn leads to the loss of his wealth to debt collectors. Unlike most examples, he never regains his fortune and is forced to take a minimum wage job to survive. He doesn't really seem too broken up about it though.
* The ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' episode [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Rhonda Goes Broke"]]. One of the strongest examples of StatusQuoIsGod in the series.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' features Bebe losing her fortune.
* The SeriesFinale of ''WesternAnimation/AsToldByGinger'' features the Griplings losing their fortune when Mr. Gripling was arrested for insider trading.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTwistedTalesOfFelixTheCat'': The episode "Bet a Billion Bill" featured a gambler named Billy. He was wealthy and lucky until a black cat (Felix) crossed his path. In "Viva Lost Wages", Billy stole Felix's magic bag and used it as a charm to [[RagsToRiches regain his fortune]]. Once Felix recovered the bag, it didn't take long before Billy returned to the poorhouse.
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'': Miles Duntcheck at the end of "The Haunted Sonata" once it was revealed his famous ancestor [[PlagiarismInFiction stole]] the sonata that gave their family RoyaltiesHeir status. It's mentioned the loss of the fortune drove him insane.
* An Al Brodax ''ComicStrip/{{Popeye}}'' cartoon has Wimpy go through this. He inherits a fortune and wagers it all against Popeye in a boxing match. Wimpy is assured to win his wager since he's the referee. But after seeing Popeye get KO'd (through his own machinations), Wimpy doesn't have the heart to count his old pal out, so he gives Popeye some spinach, Popeye knocks out his opponent, and Wimpy loses his fortune.

[[AC: RealLife]]
* Mike Tyson had earned over $300 million during his career as a boxer but had to file for bankruptcy, thanks to his colourful variety of debts including $13.4 million to the IRS and a $9 million divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Monica Turner. From 1995 to 1997, he spent $9 million in legal fees, $230,000 on pagers and cellphones, and $410,000 on a birthday party. In June 2002, he owed $8,100 to care for his tigers and $65,000 for limos.
* This also happened to Music/MCHammer. During the late-1980s and early-1990s he was one of the most successful rappers on the planet (as well as being the first rapper to achieve mainstream popularity), but by the mid-1990s the public had grown bored of Hammer's upbeat, poppy rap style. Combined with the large amounts of money he was spending on friends and family, he eventually found himself $13 million in debt. In 1996 he declared bankruptcy. Since then he has unsuccessfully attempted a few times to revive his music career, but has mainly been working as a Christian minister.
* This often happens to former nobility and royalty as the result of a revolution; for example, the French royal family after they were imprisoned during [[UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution The Reign of Terror]]. The Jacobins running the prison basically did everything they could to make them as uncomfortable as possible and humiliate them.
** After the Russian Revolution, this happened to Czar Nicholas Romanov and his family, as well as the entire aristocracy and capitalist class.
* This often happens to people who win lotteries. Lotto winners often come from middle- or lower-class backgrounds and have no experience managing large amounts of money. As a result, many of them do not regulate their spending and end up broke (or worse, millions of dollars in debt) within a few years; if they're at least careful about their spending, there's still always the possibility of being hit repeatedly with lawsuits ([[FrivolousLawsuit usually meritless]], but taking even one to court can take giant bites out of even the most substantial of fortunes, making settlements the more viable option by a long shot; this, unfortunately, only serves to embolden parasitic people). Shady accountants are another thing that can bring them down; while they will eventually get caught when a discrepancy gets noticed somewhere, they can funnel ''immense'' amounts of money away over a long period of time and cause tons of other problems.
* An alarmingly high number of professional athletes, despite making millions during their careers, have found themselves broke less than ten years after retirement, be it due to alimony/child support, failed business ventures, shady accountants, or simply their excessive lives catching up to them.
* British football team Leeds United endured this in the mid-2000s. After being Champions League semifinalists in 2001, they failed to make the next two tournaments, losing out to Liverpool and Newcastle respectively. After the second instance, the huge loans taken out to finance the transfer fees and player wages caught up with them (said loans had been dependent on Champions League football '''every'' season) and they were relegated in 2004 after going into administration. In 2007, they went into administration again and were relegated to the third tier of English football.
* [[http://delawarelibertarian.blogspot.fr/2008/03/rise-of-genteel-poverty-in-americas.html This blog post]] describe how Main/{{Suburbia}} families' lifestyles went down when the value of their house, which they used as a collateral in equity, went down with the housing crisis.
* In the early 1970s, Creator/TerryThomas was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. But by the early 1980s, his medical expenses grew so high that he was forced to sell his estate and many assets to pay for his treatments and moved into affordable housing. By 1989, his plight was so dire that fellow comedians Jack Douglas and Richard Hope-Hawkins organized a benefit concert to help him. [[BittersweetEnding With its proceeds, Terry was able to move into a nursing home, where he died in January 1990]].